Summary: Did you know that only 15% of churches in America are healthy? Could God be asking us to change? If so, in what areas? How do we identify what God is wanting us to change?
An interesting article that I found. “Age changes things.” Who changed everything when I wasn’t looking? I’ve noticed lately that everything is farther away than it used to be. It’s even twice as far to the corner now, and they’ve added a hill! I’ve given up running for the bus; it leaves much earlier than it used to. And it seems to me that they are making the stairs steeper than in the old days, and have you noticed the smaller print the newspapers are now using? And there’s no sense in asking anyone to read aloud anymore, as everyone speaks so softly that I can hardly hear them. The material in clothes s so skimpy now, especially around the waist and hips, and the way they size the clothes is much smaller than it used to be. Why, I have to buy clothes two sizes larger than what I wear just so they will fit me right! Even people are changing. They are so much younger than they used to be when I was their age. On the other hand, people my own age are much older than I am. I ran into an old classmate of mine the other day, and she had aged so much that she didn’t recognize me! I got to thinking about my poor dear friend while I was combing my hair this morning, and in doing so, I glanced at my own reflection in the mirror…. Really now! They don’t even make good mirrors anymore. So tell me now… Who CHANGED things?
You have probably heard the quote, “The good ole days were not so good.” Our memory has a tendency to remember things in a way that makes us feel good, and maybe isn’t necessarily true to reality. As a matter of fact, most of us think that our churches are okay. Statistically however, we see that this isn’t true. Did you know that 80% of churches in America are either at a plateau or are in a decline? Out of the other 20%, 5% are only baptizing 5 per year. So you can see that the church today is in a time of transition. Some are transitioning from pastor to pastor. But all churches are transitioning to change that must be made in order for us to be faithful to the Great Commission. Understanding that things change is biblical. Let’s look at how God’s early church a change that enabled them to receive the promises of God. Tell story and pray.
1After the death of Moses the servant of the LORD, it came to pass that the LORD spoke to Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ assistant, saying: 2“Moses My servant is dead. Now therefore, arise, go over this Jordan, you and all this people, to the land which I am giving to them—the children of Israel. 3“Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given you, as I said to Moses. 4“From the wilderness and this Lebanon as far as the great river, the River Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and to the Great Sea toward the going down of the sun, shall be your territory. 5“No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life; as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you nor forsake you. 6“Be strong and of good courage, for to this people you shall divide as an inheritance the land which I swore to their fathers to give them. 7“Only be strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go. 8“This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. 9“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”
A church in transition must:
I. Deal with it’s past. (1-2)
Max Lucado tells a story of Chippie the parrot. Chippie was just purchased by a proud owner. She wanted to take good care of Chippie. To show her love she decided to clean Chippie’s cage. She started from the top and worked her way down to the bottom. She started cleaning the bottom of the cage using a vacuum cleaner. The phone rang and instinctively she answered it. Paying no attention to her hose on the vacuum. When she heard whoosh. She looked, and her worst fears were confirmed. She had sucked Chippie into the vacuum. In a panic she turns the vacuum off, opens it up to find Chippie in the middle of the bag covered in dust and dirt. Immediately she picks him up and rushes to the bathroom sink. She turns on the water and immerses him. Believing she has done the right thing to clean him up, she now looks at him and realizes that he is shivering and soaked. Realizing where she is and recognizing what is available, she picks up her hair dryer and turns it on high. A reporter gets wind of the incident. After the interview he asks, “So how’s Chippie?” The owners reply, “Chippie doesn’t sing much anymore.” Neither do we when we have been “sucked in, washed up, and blown away”. We all have been. However when this happens to us, it is important that we become like the jockey hired by a Kentucky horse farmer.